Westinghouse AP 1000 clears critical test in China

The same advanced reactor design that Westinghouse Electric is installing at new nuclear units under construction in Georgia and South Carolina has inched closer to commercial operation in China, the company said May 26.

The world’s first AP1000® nuclear power plant moved a step closer to commissioning with the completion of the cold hydrostatic test (CHT) at Sanmen Unit 1 in Zhejiang Province, China.

The successful completion of CHT confirms that the reactor systems meet design pressures under operating and accident conditions and signifies the completion of the plant’s design and construction programs, Westinghouse said in a May 26 news release.

The successful completion of cold hydrostatic test is a key step in the commissioning for the AP1000 plant and puts us in a great position to load fuel – a significant milestone we expect to complete at Sanmen 1 by year end,” said Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse senior vice president, New Plants and Major Projects.

Initiated on May 25, the test was completed within four hours with the unit’s reactor systems successfully maintaining a test pressure of 3,107 psig (pounds per square inch gauge) for 10 minutes without leakage, Westinghouse said.

Inspection of the more than 1,800 required welds in the reactor coolant system test boundary found no leaks at that pressure. The CHT leads the way to the next two critical commissioning milestones, hot functional test and initial fuel load. The hot functional test, which tests all plant systems prior to loading fuel in the reactor, will begin in the next several weeks. Once complete, it will be followed by initial fuel load.

Lessons learned from AP1000 reactor installations in China will be applied in the United States for the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 being developed by a Southern (NYSE:SO)-led group in Georgia, as well as V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 being developed by SCANA (NYSE:SCG) and Santee Cooper in South Carolina.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.